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Book Review: "Study in Hysteria"

by Kathleen Collins

Not since Anne Tyler’s BREATHING LESSONS have I read a novel that so closely follows the inner workings of an older woman as she reflects on her life without the benefit of rose-colored glasses.

Born in early 20th century America, Flora is taught, like most in society at that time, to ignore her feelings and carry on. She does as expected of her and marries a man who proves to be a steady provider, after which they have a daughter.

Only after Flora finally retires as a social worker and becomes a grandmother does she notice her pettinesses and those of the people she loves. She questions the choices she made and begins to see the sad and unexplained distance between her and her now grown daughter.

Beautifully written, STUDY IN HYSTERIA follows the subtle hills and valleys of a woman who comes to see, so late in life, how deeply she’s repressed her true, spirited self.


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BLISS ROAD, a memoir


GROWING GREAT CHARACTERS, a resource for writers

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